Monday , Jun , 30 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Ron Artest Opt-out Decision to Come Soon

Opting out makes little financial sense for Artest. The Lakers, for example, might be able to offer a shot at the title, but they would be restricted to a midlevel exception offer (approximately $6 million per season) for a contract – a plight shared by most of the league. Artest’s agent, Mark Stevens, said it was "obvious" opting out would result in a midlevel exception deal.

If Artest opts out, the Kings, who hold Artest’s Bird rights, could execute a sign-and-trade deal in which he can sign a sixyear deal rather than the maximum five with other teams.

In an e-mail to The Bee last week, Artest sounded as if the allure of joining a title contender was enough to lose money. "I never knew so many teams would be coming after me," he wrote. "All I can say is I made a (big) turnaround."